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Coffe Break Spanish on the Camino!


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This thread is a "spinn-off" from this one that was started a few days ago.

Mark is thinking of creating a Camino-specific set of lessons (he runs the Coffee Breaks Spanish website) for those that are planning doing the camino, and need to brush up on their spanish.

He just need some help on finding some pilgrim-scenarios where it would be good to know a few spanish phrases. Do you have any ideas? Please reply to this thread and let us know.

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I speak a little Spanish and I carried a small dictionary which I hardly ever referred to as "muddling through" was often more fun!

The type of words which I think were required knowledge were:

Whilst you could learn umpteen food words in advance what you end up having to know are the Menu del dia staples ie lengua, natillas, guajada (spelling? I mean that fermented ewes milk desert), lentejas, trucha, caldos etc
I was impressed at the bravery of people who set off on the camino with absolutely no Spanish but I think sometimes they ate a very monotonous diet as they didnt want to risk being served something they they just couldnt eat (I think caldos is the only thing I really cant stomach - excuse the pun!)

Words useful when buying medical supplies - blisters, plasters, insect bites, anti-immflamatory cream etc

Equipment words, backpack, boots, socks, batteries etc

On my last camino I found myself wishing I had taken a crash course in German rather than classes to brush up my Spanish!



Active Member
I dont mean "caldos" do I? (broth)
I mean "callos"! (tripe)

Time to get back to the camino- my spanish is getting too rusty!

William Marques

Staff member

Asking someone the way: words need to include - left, right, straight on, yellow arrow, sign

At the refugio: including words such as - bunk-bed, top, bottom, pillow, blanket, donation, kitchen, wash-room, upstairs
Do you have a bed for tonight for me and my friend?
Yes. We have beds.
How much is it or do you want an donation?
We charge 9 euro a night.
Where shall we go?
The room with bunks for you is upstairs on the right.
What time do we have to be back by tonight?
You must be back before 11.
Do you have a kitchen?
Yes it is behind me to the left.
Thank you very much.
It's nothing.

Rebekah Scott

Camino Busybody
Time of past OR future Camino
Many, various, and continuing.
Great idea.
I deal with a lot of these things!
I think much-needed phrases include

Hello. Good day. How are you? (very important!)
Can you help me? I am very tired.
I am sick/hurt.
My friend is sick/hurt.
How close is the nearest bar/village/albergue/fuente?
Is there a taxi/bicycle repair shop/shoe repair/doctor/store in town?
Can you show me on my map? Can you write that for me?
A draft beer/coffee with milk/shot of home-brew, please.
Is there still room at the albergue? How much does it cost?
Is there another option in town?
Is there a pilgrim menu/menu del dia?
Can I have that without meat/tuna? Is there a vegetarian option?
Is your dog dangerous?
Can a person walk there in a day?
Please show me where/how/whom.
Where is the restroom?
What time does the door close? What time do I need to leave in the morning?
Thank you. You are very kind.
Your child/dog is really cute!
Where do I leave my generous donation?

Just a few.
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I'm thinking that you need a wide-variety of medical terms because "Tengo dolor en mi pierdna" can mean a muscle cramp, a sprain, a twist, or a break. :)

I fell & broke/twisted/sprained my leg/knee/ankle/arm/head. ;)

I have insect bites/hives & need some medicine to stop the itching.

Here's one I actually needed:
Do you have bandage tape? (Also could be "Do you have surgical tape?")<--trying to cover all bases :)
A series of "Do you haves" for pharmacies:
--band aids
--antibiotic cream
--something for blisters?
--sanitary pads
--pms medicine

What time can we leave in the morning? (multiple answers)
You can leave at any time. OR
You can leave anytime after 7 a.m.

Do you serve breakfast?
Yes, for 3 Euro.

Where is the nearest grocery store/bar/restaurant?

What time do you serve dinner? How much is it?
What time does siesta start? How long is siesta?

And I agree with the person who brought up the different names for food, particularly cuts & types of meat. :)

Thanks for doing this! I think it's a great idea!


Active Member
ivar said:
Mark is thinking of creating a Camino-specific set of lessons (he runs the Coffee Breaks Spanish website) for those that are planning doing the camino, and need to brush up on their spanish.

That would be muy bueno! I've just finished lesson 4 of Coffee Break Spanish (doing them during my morning commute), and I think they are great. I like the informal format, especially with new learner Kara (or however her name is spelled).

ivar said:
He just need some help on finding some pilgrim-scenarios where it would be good to know a few spanish phrases.

1. Anything to do with commerce and money (I found knowing the numbers 1-100 helpful in transactions, since the bartenders give the dollar/cent amount).

2. Finding accommodations/albergues (and requesting one bed, private room, two beds, for one night, two nights, etc.).

3. Types of foods/drinks (vinos [of course!], sandwiches, types of meat, types of veggies, condiments), restaurant stuff: table for one, two, knife, fork, spoon, pepper, salt.

4. Transportation (trains & buses especially) - tickets, 1st/2nd class, night trains, transfers.

5. Getting around albergues (upstairs, downstairs, showers, washing areas, beds, etc.) and towns (types of shops), and basic directions: left, right, straight ahead, near, far.

6. The farmacia - types of creams, ointments, medicines, names for medical issues (rashes, sores, blisters), body parts (stomach, feet, eyes).

7. Slang and filler terms, like "claro" and what sounds like "bali, bali."

Thanks a lot for this, Ivar - man, I'm stoked that CBS is getting Camino-specific. One question: Will Coffee Break French also be doing some Camino stuff, due to all the folks flying into and starting their Camino in France?


Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
A few years ago a pilgrim forum offered a Spanish Phrasebook that included polite words, days of the week etc etc as well as a few phrases specifically for pilgrims: Here are a few:



I am lost Estoy perdido/a
Where is that $@%#& yellow arrow? ¿Donde está esta $#@%^&*^%#$ flecha amarilla?
How far is it to Grañon? ¿A cuantos kilómetros estamos de Grañon?
Has anybody seen Uncle Bob? ¿Alguien ha visto al tío Bob?

Can you tell me where the refuge is?
¿Por favor, donde queda el refugio de peregrinos/ albergue?

Is this albergue free of bed bugs or can I bring my own?
¿Hay bichos en este albergue, o es que puedo llevar los míos propios?

The first one who snores gets a boot in the nose
El primero que ronca recibe mi zapato en la nariz

I only need one bed. My manservant will sleep with the horses
Solo necesito una cama. Mi sirviente dormirá con los caballos.

Thanks for everything. I’ll give a hug to the Apostle for you
Gracias por todo. Le daré un abrazo al apóstol para ti.

Have you got a strong box for my jewelry?
¿Hay una caja fuerte para mis joyas?

Is there room service after midnight
¿Hay servicio en cama después de la medianoche?


There’s a fly in my garlic soup
Hay una mosca en mi sopa de ajo.

Do you serve tapas
¿Hay tapas?

Can you just serve half a portion of the ham that is hanging over me? I’m not that hungry
Me puede dar solo la mitad del jamón que hay allí arriba. No tengo mucha hambre.

I’d like a bottle of beer. Make that a whole keg.
Me gustaría una botella de cerveza. Mejor me da toda la barrica

Is that a piece of tortilla española in your pocket or are you just glad to see me?
¿Es esto un pedazo de tortilla lo que tienes en tu bolsa o es solo que te alegras de verme?

There is a toad sitting by your left foot - Do not bother it's just a blister
Hay un sapo sentado en tu pie izquierdo - No le hagas caso, es solo una ampolla

Can you give me your address, phone number,…
Me puedes dar tu dirección, número de teléfono,…
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Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
On the Camino since 2008
sillydoll- thanks a lot- I will put that on the last page of my dictionary... will be very helpfull

I just wonder if Mark is really going to create a podcast for us- would be a great thing. Mark- are you there?


Veteran Member

I've lost my flask of fine single malt...can you recommend a replacement?

Is there a store/shop/bar open this early? And, where do I find it?

Hey buddy...I bought the last round, it's your @5%LL&& turn!

O.K. there's three shells, under one is a watch closely as I move them around. If you guess the right shell and find the pea...I'll double your bet! Would you like to try that again? double or nothing!


lckgj said:
I dont mean "caldos" do I? (broth)
I mean "callos"! (tripe)

Time to get back to the camino- my spanish is getting too rusty!


I tried that on way to Cacabellos. I bit chewy and really rich...only actually heard the word for "garbanzo" beans, and that sounded better than anything else:)

Things that would be helpful to know:
In the city before Pamplona, I've gotten lost 2x same place, the arrows seem to end. So, help understanding directions (2nd time, I was about to ask for help and a man came along and walked with me about 10-15 minutes back to the Camino (over by the garden shop)).

Also, had to catch a train once when I got sick, the words the conductor said to me were completely different from my guidebook (which was for Spain), but he didn't kick me off, so I guessed I'd caught the right train. So, words you might hear on a bus or train, and/or station would be helpful.

Help communicating with doctor/pharmacist, especially what they tell you to do. (I drew a picture for a pharmacist, trying to explain a bunion, not a blister...what is the Spanish word for "bunion?")
-Ditto, help with words for a dental emergency.


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